Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Live reporting - Town Council - workshop

Present: Feldman, Padula, Mercer, Kelly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Jones, Bissanti, Williams
Nutting, Cerel, Kinhart

discussion on handout (to be added later)

items collected under subtitles of Finances, Infrastructure and Zoning to be allocated to the respective sub-committee with an action for the respective from chair on the status

motion to assign as suggested, motion passed

4 - Future use of 150 Emmons St property (old town hall)
discussion on how to handle suggestions, evaluate the proposals and determine an option or set of options to be brought before the Council

discussion on the Economic Development Committee, need to keep to the commitment on the public meeting for January, to further put for the discussion and evaluation

park drive-through, revenue generator
we need places for revenue and to park, parking will always be an issue
highest and best use, no school, that looses the revenue, mixed use
sale, lease, ground lease as third option

money from the sale of the property can only be used for another capital project
if leased, the revenue can be used anywhere

there are two issues: what the council wants as a use and what revenue comes from the property

5 - Pond St property

action - refer to Economic Development Committee (EDC) to come back with a recommendation

workshop at EMC on Wednesday, Dec 4th with one of the topics specifically to generate ideas on the use of the Pond St property

6 - Downtown Parking

current bylaw calls for enforcement for parking 24 hours, that is not practical
should look at the current regulation, meter rates haven't adjusted in years
when Post Office moves into their new parking spaces, that frees up space at Emmons St
there are multiple issues that all need to be part of the discussion
when the meters come out for the construction, should they go back? that needs to be part of the mix

7 - aggregate solar power in Town
collaborative effort to gain buying power and win some solar power for the Town
tax incentives

refer to Town Staff for research

8 - A housing production plan
9 - Joint meetings with Housing Trust, Planning Board, Town Planning Dept, Housing Authority, Council on Aging
Housing trust has cash on hand and nothing is being done to expand the housing stock for low income housing; needs to be collaborative planning among the various department
look at the maps and acreage available to see what can be done with the housing to create opportunity for low income use; Norfolk and Plymouth just did stuff like this

putting a plan together to build a house with Tri-County going before the ZBA soon
apartments are a huge economic loss to the town for school expense vs. revenue
the affordable program in MA is broken; limits are not inline with the reality, a state issue with a local impact; need to approach the legislature and let them fix it

seniors need help, we don't need to fix all of it, we need to provide some help, and phase them in

hasn't been a factor that the Council doesn't want to do it, they do, what we need to do is get the folks together and address it with the money we have

goal to get the folks together and list the options

Action - Nutting to get meeting together

10 - Detailed, stated, written policy, procedures for new business, new construction, new entities coming into Town

Nutting hands out a listing of three years worth of Planning Board actions
getting folks through the permitting process has been done quickly and efficiently
the Cook's Farm was an exception

each of these can be a real moving target depending upon what the proposed deal is going to be

there are two different things here, a developer who comes in with a specific idea but looking for a location, or another coming in with a location and looking for what could be done with it

The Economic Dev Comm had met with the developer on the Pond St and did not hear back until after it came to the Council

issue with information on what is being developed via discussion and likely coming through a Technical Review without Council being aware of it, who knows vs who doesn't (Council)
why not include the information on the EDC agenda, doesn't want to add weeks to the approval process, just want to have information and communication

Nutting - communications is easily resolved

11 - having membership on Technical Review meeting
two issues per M Cerel, one would require meeting to be public meeting; two would create a chilling atmosphere for the discussion in the meetings

Nutting - let me figure out how to accomplish

12 - If Council has a problem with a department head the Town Administrator should address
the Council can get into trouble getting into personnel matters in a public meeting
I am always willing to listen

we're a new council, we'll feel each other out, I don't really agree that we should agree to disagree, that just may not be the end of the matter

not position of the Council to deal with the details of personnel affairs

13 - having a committee, boards have standard rule or procedures, accepted and followed by each board or committee

if there is an appointed Board, there is some leverage

there are boards that conduct public hearings as a matter of course for their business that is different from conducting a regular meeting

look for action to have Nutting work with Cerel to come up with the standard procedures, even if it is a refresh of the current process/procedures

the issue is if the decision is not handled properly, then it is up to the aggrieved party to address it

14 - hiring a marketing/out reach firm
the MDN doesn't cover the good stuff, it covers the bad stuff; it should help our Planning Dept (they are so busy, backed up), the firm could then stump for new businesses coming to Town

an important person to add to our staff

send to budget committee

if we can afford it, we should do so;

Dean College is now aligned with Suffolk and they have a marketing program that perhaps with an intern we could leverage some time and talent that way

15 - Council visibility
past councils have been visible, there are nine of us, we should have someone there
we should be cutting ribbons, not the Town Administrator

use of the Town calendar, the recent election wasn't on the calendar
the website is being re-done so we can add to it

need to re-do the meetings at the Senior Center now that Tina has moved on

16 - Communication/protocols
17 - thinking outside the box
for example, exploring the transfer of land from the State to the Town near the Recycle Center
the Town has been trying for years to swap the land, now there is a new commissioner and it maybe possible

there is a long list of things that the Council has done that were thinking outside the box, you don't give as much credit to yourself as you should

18 - Citizenship awards being given monthly - solicit names from the Council and public
there are lots of volunteers and citizens that should be recognized
add some additional money to the budget,
propose the name and the additional background

Vallee - will be lobbying to add 2 policemen to the force; will be looking to add 10 teachers to the schools, need to work with the School Committee
add to the budget sub-committee

Nutting - I give the School Committee a number to work with as part of their planning process; if we as a town get $2.5M of new revenue, then about 1.3M could be for the Schools, how would they use it? They need to plan just as we do.

we can put money in the budget, we can't tell them what to do with it

everything on this listing is all about communications, rather than waiting for the one time budget discussion, let's bring them in and have the discussion and work with them to do so

ask the School Committee to come to the Council after the Joint Budget sub-committee

meeting closes

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